Clement T. (C.T. or Bud) Mertens
unknown - June 9, 2011
Clement T. (C.T. or Bud) Mertens, 93, of California, passed away Thursday, June 9, 2011, at Westphalia Hills Care Center in Westphalia. Clement was born December 20, 1917, near St. Thomas, the youngest of eight children of Theodore and Mary Mertens. He grew up on the family farm and received his education in a one-room school in the area. His dad died during the Depression and after they lost the family farm, he moved with his family to Tipton in 1934 to be closer to his oldest brother, Carl. He began his career as a trucker and operated a limestone pulverizer for the Moniteau County Agricultural Improvement Association. He hauled lime for the Association from 1938 (with breaks during and after World War II) until 1964. Clement served in the Army Air Corps from May 1942 until December 1945, achieving the rank of T/Sgt. He was extremely proud of his service in the Air Corps, where he learned that his talent was recognized, and he gained confidence in his leadership, organization and management abilities. After his service, he met and married Ida Mae Stockman on November 9, 1946, in Wardsville. They built a house near Wardsville and moved to Columbia in 1950 to take advantage of an opportunity with Whitely Tire Co. In 1953, they moved to California, and he and Ida purchased their first farm three miles south of McGirk in 1954. Over the next 20 years, they expanded their farm to 400 acres and developed a leading dairy operation of 60 milking cows. In the early years, Clement continued to haul lime, and also did custom hay baling, silage chopping and combining. Self-educated by diligent reading and obtaining information from the university, Bud adopted new ideas and technology quickly. He was one of the first in the area to grow alfalfa for his dairy herd, terrace the land to prevent erosion, use computerized record-keeping, record the milk production of individual cows, feed cows according to production, convert to free-stalls for the dairy cows, and design and build an elevated milking parlor. In 1971, Bud and Ida were honored for their dairy farming accomplishments by the Missouri Farm Management Recognition Program. After moving to town in 1978, they continued their involvement with dairying by working for the Dairy Herd Improvement Association to officially measure milk production of cows for dairy farmers in Moniteau and Cole counties. In 2003, he and Ida moved to a retirement center in Westphalia, the village to which his Mertens ancestors immigrated in the 1830s. With the support of his wife and family, Clement actively participated in community activities while operating a dairy farm 24/7. He was vice-chairman and founding member of Public Water Supply District #2 that brought water to the rural areas east of California, member of the Rural Fire Department, chairman of the Jefferson City Dairy Council, district chairman of Mid-America Dairyman, Inc., board member and state delegate to the MFA Cooperative Association, chairman of the Extension Council, and member of the FmHA County Loan Review Board, American Dairy Association, Holstein Association USA, and Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders' Association. During their retirement they traveled to see family and friends, and visited nearly every state. Bud was an avid reader of newspapers, magazines and thousands of books. He enjoyed learning by reading throughout his life. He was known by family and friends for his numerous informative and interesting letters. In his 60s, Bud began using computers and in his 70s wrote a 430 page book about his family and life called "My Story." In his book, he wrote about the philosophy of life he was given as a child: "No matter what task you do, always do your best . . ." It was a philosophy that Bud lived and passed on as his legacy. Bud was an active member of Annunciation Catholic Church. He was Parish Council member for seven years and also served as lector, usher, and communion minister. He was a Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus and a charter member of the Annunciation Church Council of the Knights. Clement is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years, Ida. He is also survived by his children: David of Belleville, Wis., Theodore (Ted) of Brodhead, Wis., Karen (Mertens) Gerke of Otterville, and Beverly (Mertens) Riley of Madison; and by six grandchildren, two step- grandchildren and two great- grandchildren. Visitation will be held on Monday, June 13, 2011, from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. at Annunciation Catholic Church in California. There will be a Rosary at 10:30 a.m. at the church, with Mass of Christian Burial directly following the Rosary. Burial with full military honors will be in Annunciation Catholic Cemetery. Officiating will be Fr. Ed Schmidt. Donations can be made in Clement's name to Hospice Compassus or to the American Red Cross for the people of Joplin, c/o Bowlin-Cantriel Funeral Services, 100 S. Oak, California, MO 65018. Arrangements are under the direction of Bowlin-Cantriel Funeral Services, California.